Communing with the Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest

A delightful afternoon at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

In honor of Dear Husband’s birthday, we decided to spend the afternoon with three good friends at Northwest Trek, a 720 acre wildlife park in Eatonville, Washington, which is about an hour and a half south of Seattle. This was my first visit to the place, but I hope it won’t be my last. If you get the chance, check it out. You may see as many as 40 different types of animals that are native to the Pacific Northwest.

Part of the park is a free roaming area consisting of 435 acres, where you are essentially a captive in your car, and the bison, elk, caribou, moose, bighorn sheep, deer, mountain goats, eagles, cormorants, and disabled swans amble about unfettered. Here are some of the photos we took during that portion of the experience.

It used to be that these tours were in a guided tram, but then, you know, pandemic. So they switched to having a group of private cars following a lead car in close formation, and they broadcast their talk on your radio. Their website says that they will have trams again eventually, but in the meantime, pray that your new paint job doesn’t encounter a moose in a foul mood, because you have to sign a waiver that releases the park of any liability. Jokes aside, I found it rather exciting, and not only because we escaped unscathed.

The other part of the park contains the walking paths. If you’re lucky and nobody is hiding in their enclosure, you’ll see bears, foxes, wolverines, wolves, eagles, owls, racoons, skunks, beavers, badgers, porcupines, otters, cougar, lynx and bobcats.

Most of the enclosures for these animals were really large and made you forget that there was a barrier between you and them. This allows them to behave more naturally. It was great fun seeing a black bear pop his head out of his den. He was in torpor, so his groggy self looked like Dear Husband before his first cup of coffee. A red fox peeked out at us from under a log. My favorite was the gigantic cougar. I had never before come face to face with one, thank goodness, so I had no idea how massive they are. Check out the videos and photos we took below.

What an amazing experience! Two fun facts I learned on this day and won’t ever forget: 1) Moose can dive up to 18 feet to eat the plant life at the bottom of a lake. 2) No full grown adult should ever volunteer to sit in the middle of the back seat of a Volvo XC 60. Leave that to flexible humans under the age of 12. You’ll be glad you did.

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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